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Sprint Prepaid phone unlocking policy and FAQs

Last Updated: Apr 22, 2016

What is Sprint Prepaid's device unlocking policy?

You can find Sprint Prepaid's device unlocking policy at sprint.com/prepaidunlock.

What does it mean for my device to be 'locked'?

The term "locked" typically refers to a device that can only be used on the Sprint network and cannot be activated on a competing carrier's network. An "unlocked" device is no longer locked to Sprint Prepaid services and the user may attempt to activate it on another carrier's network. There are generally two scenarios for locking/unlocking:

  1. Domestic SIM Unlocking ("DSU"): A device may be referred to as 'locked' if that device was manufactured with programming restrictions that prevent another carrier's SIM card from being inserted into the SIM slot for use on a different network. Generally, most smartphones launched after February 2015 are DSU-capable – meaning the SIM slot can be unlocked for potential usage on other carriers in the United States. Even if unlocked, Sprint DSU-capable devices may not work on another carrier's network. Whether an unlocked Sprint device can be used on another carrier's network is subject to that carrier's policies and network compatibilities.
  2. MSL Unlocking: A device is 'locked' if it is manufactured with a type of disabling software and a locking code (referred to as 'Master Subsidy Lock' or 'MSL'). Generally, MSL locks were utilized on devices launched before February 2015. Sprint can provide the MSL code to eligible customers, however this does not mean that the device will be able to be successfully used on any other carrier domestically. Whether another carrier will accept and activate a device on its network is subject to that carrier's policies and compatibilities.

How can I unlock my device?

Eligible customers can request a domestic SIM unlock and/or request the associated MSL Code by contacting Sprint Prepaid Customer Care at 855-639-4644.

Will Sprint Prepaid notify me when my device is eligible to be unlocked/has been unlocked?

No. Sprint Prepaid elects to post its unlocking policies and procedures online. However, if you believe you meet the above requirements and would like to request that your DSU-capable device be unlocked and/or request the associated MSL Code, contact Sprint Prepaid Customer Care at 855-639-4644.

I have the MSL code for my device. Does that mean that my device is unlocked?

No. Sprint can provide the MSL code to eligible customers to provide to their intended carrier. Whether another carrier is able to or will reprogram a device is subject to that carrier's policies and practices.

I've been told by another carrier that Sprint Prepaid needs to unlock my SIM slot in order to use my phone on the other carrier's network.

For DSU-capable devices (generally devices and device models launched February 2015 or later), Sprint Prepaid will unlock the SIM slot for devices that are eligible. If you believe that your device is eligible to be unlocked and want to request a domestic SIM unlock, contact Sprint Prepaid Customer Care at 855-639-4644.

It is important to note that not all devices are capable of being unlocked, often because of the manufacturers' device designs. Specifically, devices and device models manufactured prior to February 2015 cannot be unlocked to accept a different domestic carrier's SIM for use on another domestic carrier's network. Sprint Prepaid has no technological process available to do this.

I have been told that my device is not DSU-capable. What can I do?

Many devices that have been manufactured for Sprint Prepaid simply are not DSU-capable. This is because, prior to the development of the voluntary commitment contained in CTIA's Consumer Code for Wireless Service ("Unlocking Commitment") carriers were not required to, and many carriers did not, develop their devices to be DSU-capable. We strongly encourages owners of such devices to consider Sprint Prepaid's Buyback Program, which may enable them to trade in their old devices to receive an account credit. For more information, visit sprintbuyback.com

I am a former Sprint Prepaid customer or was never a Sprint Prepaid customer but have purchased a Sprint Prepaid device from a third party other than Sprint Prepaid. Can I have the device unlocked or receive the MSL code?

For individual owners who can provide the Sprint Prepaid telephone number or account number last associated with the device, Sprint Prepaid may be able to unlock the device and/or provide the applicable MSL Code, provided the device is eligible under the applicable policy above. If a device is not eligible for any reason under the respective applicable policy, a non-Sprint Prepaid customer requestor may be required to work with the original purchaser and/or the person from whom the requestor purchased the device to ensure any financial or device eligibility criteria are met. Customers are strongly encouraged to contact Sprint Prepaid about a device's unlock eligibility before purchasing through a non-Sprint Prepaid channel as Sprint Prepaid cannot share information regarding an unauthenticated account.

This policy is subject to change without notice at Sprint's discretion.

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